Markelle Fultz doesn't look at home in the Sixers' half-court offense. When he's off the ball, he's either waiting in the corner or on the baseline, trying to figure out how to fit next to Ben Simmons. He's been better with the ball in his hands, but he hasn't shown a ton of attacking instinct in the pick-and-roll.
In the open court, it's a different story.
Fultz had a couple highlight plays in transition in the Sixers' 105-103 win over the Hornets on Saturday night (see observations), including an authoritative, coast-to-coast slam early in the fourth quarter.
GET OUT OF THE WAY.— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) October 28, 2018
Fultz takes it the distance to pull out a monster slam! pic.twitter.com/RGo6v83GzZ
His final stat line of 10 points (4 for 9 shooting), 4 rebounds and 3 assists in 25 minutes wasn't outstanding, but Brett Brown was a big fan of Fultz's performance:
I thought he was really good tonight. Pushing the ball up the court. I thought he had a few good finds of Joel. When we can get him early offense in open court and he’s thinking attack the rim, get to the paint, and go there to dunk, the world makes sense. Instead of going in there to pass.
And I told him, ‘Go in there like you’re going to get 50. Go like you’re going to dunk everything. And then the world will make sense. The game will speak to you.’ Preconceived notions of where people are going to be, it doesn’t work. Put your own thumbprint on the rim, look at the rim, get to the rim. I thought he did that tonight and he helped us … We needed Markelle to do what he did.
Fultz's open-court exploits Saturday night don't make the questions about his jumper, or playing off ball, or his shaky defense immediately disappear. Those are all still concerns, although it certainly wouldn't hurt if he could maintain an aggressive mentality in half-court offense as well.
But none of his weaknesses really matter when he's in transition, not just looking to score but, at Brown's request, looking to dunk.